The Department of Agriculture is seeking permission from the European Commission to nearly triple the size of solar PV panels which can be funded under the next version of the target agricultural modernisation scheme (TAMS 3).
The scheme is set to launch next year and will include a number of measures to encourage farmers to install solar panels.
Under previous TAMS, the size of solar PV systems which could be grant aided on most farms was 11kWp (kilowatt peak). However, under TAMS 3 this limit will be increased to 30kWp and 62kWp for pigs and poultry farmers.
The previous limit was considered too small for many farms with a high energy requirement. It is proposed that batteries will also be eligible for grant aid but will be limited to 50% of the capacity of the panels.
60% grant aid
The Department is also set to increase the available grant aid rate for solar PV systems to 60% for all farmers.
As reported last week in the Irish Farmers Journal, the Department says that it is proposing that the solar scheme will not be subject to the overall TAMS investment ceiling, meaning solar PV systems would have a separate investment ceiling of up to €90,000.
As with the previous scheme, the Department stipulates that electricity generated from the panels must be consumed on the farm for farming purposes. While they can’t physically stop you from exporting to the grid, an ‘on farm solar PV survey’ will have to be submitted with the application to prove the farm’s electricity requirements match the planned electricity supply from the panels.
The farm’s dwelling house can now be included in these calculations, but it remains unclear if the farm and house need to be on the same electricity meter.